While brooding is an important management practice in poultry production, it is important to know the required brooding equipment. Remember, the purpose of brooding is to raise healthy chicks and provide the required heat (mimicking natural mother hen) until they are able to adapt and regulate their body temperature to the ambient temperature.
For brooding to be successful, there is some equipment that must be available in the brooder house/pen. Key brooding equipment includes:
- Brooder Guard
- Brooder or Heater
1. Brooder Guard
Brooder guard is a hard board that can be made to form a ring or circle with ease. A brooder guard is used to restrict the movement of chicks within a certain heated area. Normally, a poultry farmer should place 100 chicks within a brooder guard having a diameter of 1meter. A brooder guard is not required if brooding is done in battery cages.
2. Brooder or Heater
Many kinds of brooder or heater exist. However, there are four common brooders or heaters:
i. Charcoal / Kerosene Stove
This type of brooder is the best option when or where electricity is not available. A fabricated charcoal or kerosene stove uses charcoals or kerosene to generate or produce supplementary heat to warm the chicks.
This type of brooder is commonly used on most standard farms. Its heating unit has a 250-watt bulb—usually five well-arranged incandescent bulbs or infra-red bulbs with a power on/off switch or button. The hover is usually covered by an angular or round metal sheet to deflect the produced heat back to the floor. The hover is suspended using a cable or cord fastened to the ceiling, and it can be lowered or raised to any height level, depending on the required temperature.
iii. Electric Brooder
This is a thermostatically-controlled heater that is capable of spreading heat uniformly above a large area. The advantage of this kind of heater is that it prevents chicks from crowding under the heater or brooder directly.
iv. Gas Brooder
This type of brooder, unlike the electrical brooder, uses gas to generate heat.
v. Infrared Bulb Heater
An infrared bulb heater is also used to generate the heat required by the chicks to keep their body warm.
vi. Automatic Heater
An automatic heater has an enclosed 600-watt heating element with a thermostat and reflector. It is hung just like the way a hover is hung.
It is important to have a room thermometer inside the brooding pen or house. It is used for monitoring the ambient temperature inside the brooding house. With the help of the room thermometer, you will know if the temperature within the brooding house is cold, moderate or high.